The role of derivatization techniques in the analysis of plant cannabinoids by gas chromatography mass spectrometry

B. Fodor, I. Molnár-Perl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

12 Citations (Scopus)


Derivatization is the most powerful contribution to the identification and quantification of plant cannabinoids (p-CBDs) by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS): providing volatile derivatives with eminent properties (high selectivity, outstanding sensitivity and mass spectrometric peculiarities). These derivatives are excellent candidates to determine the main p-CBDs, like tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), tetrahydrocannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabicyclol (CBCL), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), 11-hydroxy-Δ9-THC (11-OH-THC) and 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH). Identification and quantification of p-CBDs is required – partly as trace constituents in complex biological matrices of drug users, partly as main components in seizure samples: in both cases, in extremely different ratios. GC proposals published between 2000 and 2017, along with outstanding pioneer contributions, are reviewed. Procedures, without derivatization and applying various alkylsilyl, acylation and/or esterification techniques were listed, compared and criticized. Further sorting was based on the reagent type, on examined matrices, on enrichment/detection related acquisition protocols and on analytical performance characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-158
Number of pages10
JournalTrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Acylation/esterification
  • Derivatization
  • Detection/acquisition studies
  • FID
  • Gas chromatography
  • LOD/LOQ evaluation
  • Mass-spectrometry
  • Plant cannabinoids
  • Trialkylsilylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy

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